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Myth busting

Many parents will feel their baby is ready for solid food before they reach 6 months old. Family members and friends may encourage you to start offering solid foods (weaning) however, your baby may not be ready for solid food. 

Here are some signs that are often mistaken for being ready:


It’s best not to use food to stop babies from crying. There may be other reasons why they are crying such as needing to sleep, being too hot/cold or not feeling well.  Babies learn very quickly that food can be used as a comforter.  Lots of cuddles and attention are best to comfort your baby and ease crying.

Waking in the night

If your baby has previously slept through but all of a sudden he/she starts waking in the middle of the night, this doesn’t mean that your baby is hungry. Waking in the night is common and quite normal behaviour for babies. Starting your baby on solid foods before they are ready will not help them sleep through the night. If they are hungry, just offer an extra milk feed. 

Chewing and biting on things

Chewing fists and biting on things is not necessarily a sign that your baby is ready for solid food. There could be other reasons for this such as teething. Talk to your health visitor if you are concerned.   

Extra milk feeds

Sometimes a little extra milk is all they need if they are hungry.

Babies are likely to show that they are ready for solids to be introduced alongside breastmilk (or first infant formula) at about 6 months. Key signs that they are ready include:

  • Being able to sit up and hold their head steady.
  • Be able to pick up food and move it to their mouth.
  • They are able to swallow food (rather than push is back out with their tongue).

Remember that all babies are different. As with all stages of development, some may be slower than others to learn.

Learning to handle food in the mouth is a new skill, a range of smooth foods and soft finger foods can be offered from around 6 month of age. There is no need to rush this stage, as it is important to introduce new tastes in a pleasurable stress free environment.

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